A friend who can scarcely afford it is making the plunge to buy a 9-foot Baldwin concert grand for her 14-year-old son, who's delighting her by developing into a fine pianist. My friend is an excellent musician herself (flute) who homeschools her boy and has encouraged his musical talents. They live in an extraordinary collection of tiny buildings on a couple of acres in a town of about 300 souls halfway between Houston and Austin. Only one of the buildings, which normally houses many aspects of the architectural photography business that my friend runs with her husband, is even remotely capable of housing this gorgeous instrument. It's used, but in good condition; I think the picture here that I pulled from the Net probably is a good representation. (And it's a good thing it's used, because they retail new for $89K, decidedly not in the budget. I think she's going to get it for $20K, already a crazy number.)
I hope the piano thing works out well for my friend's son, because I think she just blew the college fund. Well, they can always sell it if his passion dissipates, and there are worse marketable skills to have than the ability to play the piano at a professional level. As for the non-monetary advantage: that's incalculable. Not many kids are lucky enough to have both musical talent and a parent who's fanatically devoted to excellence in instruments.
She called her mother with the news first, only to receive a disappointing response. She knew if she called me she'd get the drooling, panting, frantically approving attitude she was looking for.